Let’s Assume FAZ Does Nothing

If the Dodgers do nothing, this is what I would expect come Spring Training.

 

1B – Bellinger

2B – Forsythe

3B – JT

SS – Seager

LF – Kike’ and Joc/Toles

CF – Taylor

RF – Puig

C – Barnes

Rotation:  Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Maeda, Ryu

Bullpen:  Jansen, Baez, Fields, Garcia, Koehler, Stripling, Avilan, Cingrani

Bench:  Grandal, 2 of Kike’/Joc/Toles, and Locastro

 

Grandal and JT can relieve Bellinger at 1B.  CT3 and Kike can relieve Corey at SS.  Logan and Kike’ can relieve JT at 3rd.  Barnes/Kike’/Farmer/CT3 can all play 2B for Logan.  Kike’/Toles/Joc can all play LF, CF or RF.

 

That is a 25 man that can compete right now.  Win a WS…?

 

It does not include Matt Kemp or Brock Stewart.  There is no reason to include Kemp in their plans, and Brock Stewart is the #6 in rotation.  I think he is better suited for the bullpen, but he needs to be convinced of that.  I think he goes back down to OKC to work on his changeup.  If he cannot get that to become a legit out pitch, then he should move to the bullpen where he has a chance to do extremely well.

Verdugo should go back to OKC and see if he can get more lift on his swing without significantly increasing his strike outs.  I also think he should continue to work on his defense.  He has that great 1ststep, but he needs to continue to make good routes to the ball.  He can go back on a ball, and he has a plus plus plus arm.  He is closer to becoming a good MLB OF than any minor league OF not named Victor Robles.  Liberatore also goes back to OKC to work his way back up again.  Farmer is better suited to go to OKC and work with Buehler, Oaks, Sborz, Sopko (and later White, Alvarez, Urias, Santana, and Ferguson).

 

I do not know what happens with Font.  I do not know if the Dodgers try to sign him to a ML contract and hide him in OKC like they did with Culberson, or if Font says he would rather be a FA.  Some ML team will want him.  He and Trayce Thompson should be moved for lottery picks if nothing else.  I like the prospects of Font in the pen, but if Font is added to the 25 man, who does he replace?

 

Many have called for a legit #2, but I do not believe that FAZ has any intentions to go in that direction.  I am listening to Friedman… Friedman specifically downplayed the notion of adding a starting pitcher this offseason, citing high expectations for young-and-upcoming arms that are already in the organization:

“That’s just being more opportunistic. At some point, we really want to create an opportunity to work in some of our really young, talented, high-upside guys and let them kind of have a little bit of a runway to get acclimated so they can start to establish themselves. We’re really mindful of not just doing something to block a spot. So, if we line up on some guy who slots in at the top of our rotation, or near the top of our rotation, obviously it’s something you have to really consider.”  There are only two that have been discussed… Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer.  I stay high on Cole and very very mildly interested on Archer.  But more importantly, I have not heard anything that might indicate that the Dodgers are in on either.  There are too many question marks for both.  FAZ would certainly take a call on Sale/Kluber/Keuchel/Bumgarner, but realistically the Dodgers will wait on Buehler/Urias/Oaks/White/Santana.

My one concern with the current Dodgers rotation is that it is too Left Handed.  With the number of RH power bats in the NL West, they could use another RHSP.

 

The Dodgers could use a RH power bat for the middle of the lineup.  But for now that is going to have to be Puig.  I know many believe that Belly needs to be protected in the lineup, but he needs to mature and learn to protect himself.  Do only what he can do, nothing more.

 

The Dodgers need the bridge to Jansen, but have needed it the last two years and have found that guy. I know many are unconvinced with Koehler, but those same people felt the same about Blanton and Morrow before they became that bridge.  I do not know if Koehler is legit, but I am convinced that FAZ believes that Koehler/Cingrani/Garcia can be that bridge.  And we know that Doc strongly believes in Baez.  With the number of reliever options the Dodgers have, I think they are done with ML significant additions to the bullpen.

 

The one change that I do see potentially is the addition of a LH hitting or SH middle infielder.  Both Jace Peterson and Erick Aybar fill that role.  I like Locastro but I think he is better served to go back to OKC to continue his evolution into the super utility player.  He brings a different skill set to the utility role than Kike’.  Kike’ has the power, but Locastro has the speed to offset that.

 

One other change I would like to see is the emphasis on the bunt to counteract the shift.

 

I do expect to see a number of minor league contracts for borderline MLB SP, RP, and middle infielders (like LHP Henry Owens who they just picked up).    OKC will again be a place to keep ML ready “just in case” players while the prospects continue to percolate at Tulsa.  I would like to see Edwin Rios play 3B until he plays himself out of 3B.  Matt Beaty will work on becoming an OF at OKC to increase his value.  He is another of those #25/#26 players that should move up and down.  The same with Rob Segedin who does have options remaining.

 

Now if FAZ can unload Kemp quickly….

This article has 40 Comments

  1. I’d like to see Buehler crack the opening day roster. I expect either Baez or Fields to be jettisoned and I’d also like a 3rd lefty in the pen. Also rooting for Locastro. We will see multiple moves, even if only minor. AAA could be loaded.

  2. Spot on AC! I believe you may be right although FAZ is never really done. There are some bargains out there still and with some creativity the team could be upgraded. But there are SO many young players knocking on the door that deserve an opportunity. I forgot about Culberson and his unusual split contract last year that could be used on Font. The logjam in the OF will sort itself out, and a surprise NRI will probably emerge. It’s too early to weigh in on who makes the roster out of ST but it will be an open competition in the bullpen and OF. The 40 man will change some throughout the season, they like to churn the final spot with lottery tickets. They will probably find a taker for Kemp. The 25 man and the 10 day DL expand the major league roster by several spots, that will continue, and why not reward the kids with those chances? It’s a GREAT time to be a Dodger fan!

  3. I like your plan AC. It is time to let some of the farm kids play. This also helps with salary. Fill our needs, if we have any, in July. I do hope the Dodgers will try to extend Kershaw. I want him to be a Dodger for life. He just may not opt out. He wants a WS ring. I think he has enough money to live on.

  4. Excellent analysis. I tend to agree with your proposed 25 man roster with the exception of Fields and possibly Baez in the BP. FAZ will continue to add around the margins of the roster and Fields just does not provide me with confidence at all. He throws hard but his FB seems straight and vey hittable.

    I can see several more minor league contracts doled out to veteran RP’s with the hope one or two stick and FAZ catches “lighting in a bottle.” Would love to see FAZ work some magic and acquire a stud #2 SP (Cole or Archer) that somehow keeps the payroll cost neutral, but that’s a all task.

    Has the FO named a new BP coach yet? I haven’t read it anywhere and would love A.J. Ellis to be that guy.

  5. Although I have thrown out lots of trade scenarios just for the fun of it, I still stick with my original hope that the Dodgers mostly stay put as is to start the season. The exception I made to that was a hope that Morrow could be re-signed and that later in the year they could trade for Britton which is still a possibility. I also wanted to find a way to eliminate the contracts of McCarthy, Kasmir, and Gonzales.
    .
    I should be happy with the way things are now and I am.
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    AC, we are almost entirely in agreement.
    .
    That doesn’t mean that I don’t want Yelich because I do. Would I still do a Grandal and Baez for Britton in July? Yes. By then Smith might be ready for the Dodgers and if not, keep Grandal.

    1. Also, the bullpen for the playoffs will be different than for the regular season with Buehler and Maeda and possibly Ryu moving into the pen.

    2. I know it’s petty but if we add a big bat I’d like it to be a RH. Diaz, Peters, & Heredia are still a ways off.

  6. I think I have more confidence in Stewart than most here. If he is healthy through out spring training and April, he will be pushing for a spot in the rotation IMO. The Dodgers need another righty in the rotation. If Stewart steps up, The odds of Ryu being traded increases.
    .
    Kemp? That sums it up.

    1. Stewart is an excellent pick for a somewhat under-the-radar player who could have a major impact in 2018. Hell, losing Urias might have cost us a championship. It’s also time to see what Sierra has.

  7. On the last thread, Bobby asked if anyone know who this Craig Mish is andf posted this link:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/report-frontrunner-emerges-in-christian-yelich-sweepstakes/ar-BBHaCBz

    I responded:He is on MTB TV and Radio and Sirius XM. He’s credible… and much as they can be because they are sometimes fed BS.

    I am certain the Dodgers are discussing Yelich. Discussions probably revolve around Verdugo and a pitcher, like Sheffield. Maybe if the Dodgers include Alvarez and $30 million, they would take Kemp.

    Yelich is a guy who hits all over the field and is good against L-R, but I have heard several people say they believe if he works on his launch angle and gets stronger, he can hit 40 HR. He just turned 26. I have always liked him.

    How about Toles, Kemp, Alvarez, Verdugo and $12 Million in 2018 and $21 Million in 2019 for Yelich?

    Here’s another prediction: The Dodgers do not trade Grandal and by June he is the Starting Catcher again.

    1. Mark I’d be ok with that trade if you substitute Pederson for Toles and only give them 3 million in 18 and take on Ziegler this year

      1. Why would anyone trade Toles and Verdugo, over Joc?

        Joc has still not hit consistently after three years, and he still hasn’t changed his approach, after three years.

        And the fact Joc still hasn’t changed his approach after three years, says a lot, about Joc!

        Toles has hit everytime he was given a chance, and he possesses much more speed, then both Joc, and Verdugo.

        And sometimes I think people forget that Toles has pop too, because Toles hit as many HRs as Puig did, in the first month of the season, this year.

        Both Puig and Toles hit five HRs, in the first month.

        And with Verdugo, he still has not been given a fair chance, to see what he could do at the major league level, like Joc has, so I don’t think we know what kind of hitter, Verdugo will be Yet.

    2. I may be wrong, but I do not believe that you can specify the year the cash is allocated to. In my feeble mind, just like contracts that are back loaded where the AAV is used in luxury tax calculations, I would think that the $33M you propose going to the fish would be considered $16.5M each year for luxury tax purposes. Your proposal would be about $6M additional to the Marlins from being salary neutral. It would still work. It would put the Dodgers $3M additional salary for 2018, still below the $197M threshold.
      .
      I would agree with Ron Fairly Fan and substitute Joc for Toles, but not for the same reason others may have. I would make the switch because it would make more sense for the Marlins. While I do not believe that Joc is an elite defensive CF, he is a natural CF, and if they trade Yelich, they are going to need someone out there who has done it. I would include a total of $30M which would be salary neutral for both 2018 and 2019, $15M each for 2018 and 2019.
      .
      I might suggest another twist. If the Dodgers include Logan Forsythe and take Starlin Castro in return, that would reduce the cash addition to $22M because of Castro’s 2nd year. With that switch, the Dodgers would actually pick up more than $4M in luxury tax savings in 2018, but would increase it by that same $4M+ in 2019 when they can better afford it . They would also have their 2B for 2019. This would also allow the Marlins to get whatever FA 2B they would feel comfortable with.
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      I would also switch Diaz with Verdugo because Jeter and company need help with the community. I also would prefer to keep Verdugo just in case Puig decides to go FA. Verdugo would fit in nicely as the RF if Puig goes elsewhere. I might also expand the trade to take Derek Dietrich and include Omar Estevez and Trayce Thompson going to the Fish. There would be some resultant cash differential (savings for the Dodgers). The Marlins do not have any RH hitting OF on their 40 man. In fact they only have 3 in total. I would expect Magneuris Sierra to be on the 25 man this year, and there are 6 other OF in the MLB Pipeline top 30, with 5 of them having an ETA of 2020, and 1 lower level prospect with a 2018 ETA. His highest level is AA.
      .
      As long as we are projecting these trades let’s go with – Joc, Forsythe, Alvarez, Diaz, Estevez, Thompson, and Kemp to Miami for Yelich, Castro, and Dietrich and whatever cash to keep both teams salary neutral for both 2018-2019. The Dodgers get an upgraded LH OF, a 2B for 2 years, and a LH hitting infielder. The Fish get 3 MLB players, 3 Cuban player prospects not far from the ML, and Kemp to flip or DFA. Nobody can replace Jose Fernandez, but maybe Alvarez can give them hope. I certainly believe that he could be better motivated. Joc is team controlled for 3 years. Since they do not really have a backup catcher, Kyle Farmer who can also play 2B, could also be dangled for the right return.
      .
      As I write this, I still do not expect this trade to take place. But after reviewing the current roster and prospect pipeline, the Marlins are at least 5 years away from respectability. Their active 40 man roster includes the following middle infielders – JT Riddle, Miguel Rojas, Starlin Castro, and Derek Dietrich. They have one middle infielder in their pipeline, Christopher Torres (#14), with an ETA of 2019. That date is unlikely, as he has not advanced from Rookie Ball in the Northwest League where he did not play very well. The Dodgers could certainly help the Marlins if the Marlins want to be reasonable. Otherwise, they will not be relevant before 2023.
      .
      I remain indifferent to Joc, but he is still very young and immature. He turns 26 in April. See the below article on Joc.
      .

      http://www.dodgersnation.com/thursday-thoughts-whats-up-with-joc-pederson-bc0887/2017/12/21/

      1. Well, I stand corrected on the money exchange… and it does make more sense that way.

        Damn CPA’s! 😉

        I say that with affection. My Controller and CPA say their job is “to follow me around and bury the bodies.”

        I really like all the above ideas… I think that’s what the FO does all day long (among other things).

        1. I know how you mean it, and I laughed out loud about your CPA’s job. But I will neither confirm or deny.

    3. If the Dodgers think Verdugo is ready to play left field every day, then that sounds good to me, but, if they don’t think that, then the player who makes the most sense ( at least in my limited mind ) is Yelich, What would it take to get Yelich? probably Verdugo for sure, then Toles or Pederson ( hopefully it’s Pederson) and 2 or 3 pitchers that both teams can agree on.
      I don’t see Kemp going to Miami as long as Mattingly is the manager.

  8. I have a lot of confidence in Brock Stewart.You only have to look at Brock Stewarts splits last year to have an idea what he is: A High Leverage Reliever.

    He could step up as an 8th inning guy as the season progresses. If they pitch him as a reliever from early Spring, he will be a dynamite reliever. He does not have enough pitches to be a starter. You can disagree, but look at his splits:

    In his MLB CAREER:

    Starter – 37.2 IP/44 H/1.69 WHIP/5.97 ERA
    Reliever – 24.2 IP/17 H/1.135 WHIP/2.19 ERA

    I mean, it is not even close. The dude is ready for the pen now. His problem is control of his curve. As a reliever, he can forget that thing. Hopefully FAZ sees what they have in him, which may be part of the reason they did not get another 8th inning guy.

    1. Stewart originally saw himself as a ML infielder until his college coach told him it was his arm that was going to get him noticed. His father was a scout for the Padres at the time and confirmed that was the consensus of the scouts. He switched full time to pitching, but would not have if someone didn’t give him a gentle nudge.
      .
      Now he is at another crossroad, start or relieve. He wants to start. He has two quality pitches; fastball and slider. He is trying to get his changeup to become an out pitch, but IMO he cannot do that at the ML level. So if he wants to start, he is going to need to go back to OKC and develop that change. I am not his advisor (and am not qualified to be so), but I do have eyes and an opinion, and I think his fastball and slider are good enough for high leverage relief for 1 to 2 innings. Once he sees the lineup the second time is when he runs into trouble. The same is true for Stripling. The question is do the Dodgers need both Stripling and Stewart?

      1. Hopefully Stewart will find his curve like Kershaw found his slider. Both Kershaw and Stewart are looking for that change up. I did not say what I didn’t say. I know that Kershaw is first ballot HOF, Stewart is looking for a job.

  9. I agree with MJ. I would trade Joc before Toles or Verdugo. Joc had his opportunity and screwed it ip. Three years is long enough. He does not listen. What is wrong with having Stripling and Stewart in the pen together? I still believe Baez is going to make it this year. In one game last year they just left him in when he was getting hammered. I believe it was to teach him a lesson. He is like Joc. He does not want to listen. I think he will develop a second pitch and be very good. If Baez does not, then he should be traded. I would trade Fields.

  10. If FAZ is done, I am fine. If they can make moves to get better, I am fine.

    It’s less than 2 months…

    1. I agree with this. Some interesting trade proposals posted above, however I think there will just be some tinkering around the edges and maybe a nri lottery ticket or two as the only moves left.

  11. Anyone thinking about Britton should forget about him. He recently tore his Achilles, and the recovery time is projected to be about 6 months.

  12. two possible trades to consider:
    Toronto get Peterson, Ryu, Libertore, and Locastro and also, Kemp. Dodgers get Tulowitski. This trade would fill the multiple needs of the Jays and would give the Dodgers a former all-star who could benefit from not having to carry the team. Would reduce salary impact on Dodgers significantly and would also provide a trade option if a team needed a RH SS who can also DH and provide leadership.
    Chicago White Sox get Kemp, Peterson and Fields and Dodgers get James Shields. Dodgers give CWS a CF, LF/DH and a possible late inning reliever or closer. Dodgers get a seasoned starter who understands the art of pitching and could be a 5th starter, or a late inning reliever. Reduces salary window by $7-8M per year.

    1. I think I’d rather be stuck with Kemp.

      I agree with AC about changing Verdugo’s launch angle. If he could be a 15-20 HR guy and maintain his BA, he would be an excellent player. I think he goes back to OKC to do just that.

      The Dodgers don’t HAVE TO do anything. I think at this juncture they have 4 options in LF: Kemp, Pederson, Hernandez and Toles. With Culberson gone, Kike will be more of a utilityman, so that leaves the other three to battle it out. I would give Kemp a shot, but maybe FAZ feels that bridge has been burned. I have no clue what they think, but since he is on the roster and they are under the Luxury Tax, they don’t have to do anything.

      I think it would be stupid to release him because (1) He could be Comeback Player of the Year; or (2) His hip could fall off and the Dodgers would get paid by insurance. If you can’t trade him, I think you have to keep him.

    2. The only salary level the Dodgers want to get under is the luxury tax salary threshold; this year at $197M, next year at $206M. The Dodgers are there now and do not have to do anything. FAZ did the heavy lifting and completed their salary dump to get under the luxury tax cap. Not that they will, but they can release Kemp and still be under the cap for the next two years.
      .
      FAZ would consider making trades that were salary neutral, but only if it would help the 25 man roster. In your Toronto scenario, Kemp has a $20M AAV for 2018 and 2019. Tulo has an AAV of $19.143M for 2018, 2019, and 2020. I would not trade Kemp for Tulo straight up because of the extra year much less include Ryu, Joc, Liberatore, and Locastro. The Dodgers do not need Tulo. And Kemp is not an improvement over the switch hitting Kendrys Morales.
      .
      I recognize that the Dodgers could reduce their luxury tax cap in 2018 by $6M by trading Ryu, but he is more valuable than a salary dump with Kemp. If they wanted to trade Ryu to reduce salary, they could get at least a mid-level prospect in return. I would think 1 top 20 or 2 top 30 would work. But I think Ryu is more valuable as a #5 starter for LAD.
      .
      With respect to the ChiSox trade, Shields has an AAV of $21M which is $1M more than Kemp. Shields is only signed for 2018, with a 2019 option and $2M buyout, so I am assuming that the inclusion of Joc and Fields would be to give the White Sox reason to take on the 2nd year or Kemp. With Matt Davidson currently penciled in as the DH, Kemp would help the White Sox more than Shields would help the Dodgers. There would be more incentive to do a Kemp for Shields straight up and not include Joc and Fields.
      .
      I agree with you that the White Sox could be a potential trade partner, but it would have to include Kemp and prospects for Yolmer Sanchez or Avisail Garcia.
      .
      IMO the odds more favor the Dodgers doing nothing and releasing Kemp than making any significant trade. But the only ones they will consider will be players who will help the 25 man. That is why Yelich and Garcia and Sanchez are intriguing. But I do not think they are any more likely.

  13. A lot depends on how well the Dodgers do in 2018. If they win the WS they probably won’t go after Machado or Harper. If by August the Dodgers are struggling they will want to dump payroll to best position themselves for a free agent.
    .
    If the Dodgers want Harper or Machado regardless of 2018 results, I think Verdugo and Kemp and a pitcher for a prospect will be constantly explored. If the Yankees sign Harper the Dodgers might be willing to trade for Stanton.
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    I think, and it is a lonesome thought I admit, that the best thing that could happen for the Dodgers in 2018 is for Joc to excel in CF and Taylor in 2B. I like Toles and believe he would contribute more than Forsythe.

  14. Here’s the CF Depth Chart:
    1. Taylor
    2. Toles
    3. Hernandez
    4. Verdugo
    5. Bumsrap
    6. Mark Timmons
    7. Pederson

      1. Diaz for sure.

        I am not high on Kendall and also Lux… I think Lux was a really bad pick and Kendall hasn’t shown the ability to adapt, although he has one thing you can’t teach: SPEED!

    1. I played more shortstop than any other position so I have to agree with me being down in the depth chart. Right now, Agon migjt embarrass me in a foot race.

      1. No, but I would have traded Zach Lee for Taylor.

        I have never been a huge Joc fan, but I think he deserves a chance… especially now.

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